The availability of a wide variety of digital media and electronic devices is fast becoming a cause for concern. The devices have helped improve lives in many ways but have also contributed to various health concerns. Overexposure can result in mental and physical health issues. The rise in myopia cases, for one, has been attributed to prolonged digital device use.
Children today are constantly glued to their smartphones and other handheld devices. The devices can harm their vision, whether they are reading, communicating, or playing games. Prolonged screen time increases the risk of developing vision problems.
It can also lead to eyestrain, headaches, poor posture, and reduced attention span. Spending too much time indoors limits children's physical activity. It can result in various developmental issues down the road. Spending time outdoors is vital for eye health.
Myopia or nearsightedness among children has continued to rise in the last decade. Children between eight and 12 years spend an average of four to six hours looking at digital screens. Teenagers spend up to nine hours a day on their screens, and adults spend even longer.
The number of people with myopia has increased, which has been linked to electronic devices. Research has shown the connection between screen time and the risk of developing myopia. No studies indicate whether reducing screen time can reverse or reduce myopia.
Reducing screen time has many health benefits, the most obvious being slowing down myopia progression. It may not be possible to cure myopia, but there are ways to halt or slow its progression.
Using computers for school and work has become part of life, making it hard to avoid screen time completely. But it is possible to limit usage, especially among children. Spending more time outdoors helps improve eye and physical health.
Myopia management strategies can help slow the progression of the disease. They can also help prevent eye conditions related to myopia. Management options include the following:
Using orthokeratology lenses
Atropine eye drops
Multifocal contact lenses
Multifocal or bifocal eyeglasses
Management solutions are prescribed based on the patient's age and eye condition. Sometimes, eye doctors will recommend a combination of treatments.
When it is not possible to avoid screen time, there are things you can do to protect your eyes. Strategies for smart screen use include:
Taking visual breaks every 20 minutes
Remember to blink frequently when using the screen
Position yourself comfortably before the screen
Avoid sitting too close to the screen
Use lighting properly to prevent glare
Adjust your screen and use filters to reduce glare and improve comfort
Use a warm compress or apply artificial tears to soothe the eyes
Limiting screen time and increasing outdoor activities can have long-term eye health benefits. Prolonged screen time can disrupt sleep and lead to mental and physical health issues.
For more on the impact of screen time on myopia and management strategies, visit Patel Vision Group. Our offices are in Visalia, Fair Oaks, Fresno, Redding, Roseville, Sacramento, Monterey, and Salinas, California. Call (559) 739-8550, (916) 966-4700, (559) 229-7955, (530) 221-6557, (916) 788-2960, (916) 629-8033, (831) 375-7755, or (831) 443-5250 to schedule an appointment today.